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The Skunk Conepatus chinga as New Host of Trypanosoma cruzi in Argentina

S. M. Pietrokovsky, N. J. Schweigmann, A. Riarte, A. Alberti, O. Conti, S. Montoya and C. Wisnivesky-Colli
The Journal of Parasitology
Vol. 77, No. 4 (Aug., 1991), pp. 643-645
DOI: 10.2307/3283177
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3283177
Page Count: 3
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The Skunk Conepatus chinga as New Host of Trypanosoma cruzi in Argentina
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Abstract

We report the first systematic epidemiological research carried out in Argentina on the skunk Conepatus chinga. Forty-nine animals were captured in the settlements of Amamá, Trinidad, and nearby forested areas located in the Department of Moreno, Province of Santiago del Estero, between April 1985 and May 1989. Isolation of parasites was done through xenodiagnosis, and their identification as Trypanosoma cruzi was achieved by biological and biochemical criteria. The isolate was highly virulent and pathogenic in inoculated C3H mice. Prevalence was 4.1% (2 of 49). Two facts account for a possible domestic source of infection: both infected skunks were captured near Trinidad, in an area that had never been treated with insecticides, and electrophoretic isoenzyme patterns of the parasites isolated from the skunks were identical to those found in humans. Because extensive deforestation probably would increase the distribution area of C. chinga, further investigation should be performed to evaluate the epidemiological role of this wild mammal.

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